Stood up at Starbucks

Stood up at StarbucksShe shivers because it’s cold out and he’s not coming.

Running her hands up and down her arms stops her from grabbing her phone; from texting, or worse.

The saddest part isn’t that he won’t arrive. It’s that she let herself believe he would.

It was supposed to be different this time, but of course it’s not. And now she’s the girl, alone in a Starbucks, trying to hide amongst the hustle; the premature red signage that gets us all in a tizzy.

What if he’s just caught in traffic? It could be a flat tire. Would it be better or worse if he simply forgot?

Her lips tightly clutch one another in an effort to remain quiet. She will suffer alone in silence, slightly comforted by the company that comes with misery: when you’re just detached enough to feel both internal and external to it all.

And of course, it would be snowing. Those flakes that, just last winter, had kissed their squinted lashes, landed on the pillows of their smiling tongues.

Could it have ended differently? She’d like to think so, but it all feels a little too inevitable.

Nothing left to do now but gather her belongings, gather her thoughts, button her coat, and try to walk steadily even as the loneliness begins to drip, drip, drip into her bloodstream. An I.V. of he and what wasn’t meant to be.

She left her hat on the table. A stranger finds it seconds too late; waves and shouts after a car with a loud, sad song thumping through its shell.


Addict on the street

Addict on StreetMissed it.

One of the few good veins remaining.

“No!” she shouts, followed by an obscenity. “Nooooooo…”

She’s on the ground, cross-legged, roiling behind some shrubbery as if it’s a shield. But we see through it.

She appears frenzied, as if she could do something regrettable at any moment.

There’s nothing warm about this day. Nothing in her belly; nothing covering her hands.

A flash of flesh; her forearm blinds passersby, highlighting the besieged skin from prior pokes.

She just wants it in, but her veins warn against it. “Don’t use me for this. I don’t want that kiss.”

Yet she jabs and slaps and squeezes to make something happen, something that used to be magic.

It’s just that there’s no one remaining except a sad, swearing girl behind the curtain.